Telecommuting Eases NYC Transit Strike Pain

UPDATED: Some of the city's workers are taking advantage of the halt in the city's subways and buses.
Posted December 21, 2005

Tim Gray

UPDATED: New Yorkers have come a long way since the last transit strike 25 years ago.

In that relatively short timeframe, the city has grown from business capital of the developed world into a true center of global commerce, with untold trillions of dollars in transactions whipping through an unseen network each day.

Today, unlike 1980, much of that business can be done with the sweep of a wireless mouse or the push of a remote button. From Tokyo's Nikkei, to London's Footsie, to Wall Street's NASDAQ, commerce can as easily be conducted from your kitchen as in your office.

And although New Yorkers certainly have come a long way, the biggest change, perhaps, is they no long have to go a long way.

Telecommuting wasn't exactly a household word back in 1980. And if you wanted to get a job done, it meant being at your desk to shuffle through papers that needed to be signed in triplicate by supervisors before being stacked away in those ubiquitous metal filing cabinets that used to line office walls.

But telecommuting is likely easing the pain that the Transport Workers Union's strike has brought business.

Much of the team has been forced today to work remotely. From Brooklyn to the west side of the city, and like most other days spread out all over the country, the nations Internet infrastructure allows the publication to continue conducting business even when staffers are too far away to make it the brick-and-mortar office.

Most employees of Jupitermedia,'s parent company, have remote access to internal networks, databases, files and e-mail. At least, online it can't. Above ground is another story, as New York-based workers who had to be in the office hoofed it, pedaled bikes in sub-zero temperatures, or otherwise cajoled spots in commuter cars and available taxicabs in order to get to where they needed to be today.

The continued growth of broadband throughout the Untied States, plus the development of remote corporate networks, has made working from home as efficient as video conferencing with colleagues on a different coast.

And that access has become big business, as evidenced by the number of Web services providers jumping in to help local business today.

Torrance, Calif.-based LiveOffice, a provider of Web services, said today it is offering free Web conferencing and teleconferencing services to any New Yorker affected by the strike.

"We want everyone in New York to have access to conferencing technologies so that they can effectively conduct business from home without commuting," Ted Heieck, product manager for LiveOffice, said in a statement. "Our Web-based services are easy to use and perfectly suited to help New Yorkers stay productive during the transit strike."

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